Simple Steps To Online Safety

When surfing the net, did you ever stop to think that someone may be staring back at you? As technology advances, more and more of our lives are intertwined with the internet through online shopping, banking, email communication, social media, and more. Being proactive provides the greatest protection against online threats.

Cotton wants to help you protect your privacy by providing a few online safety tips:

● Recognize that you are an attractive target to hackers.

● Practice good password management: 8 Character passwords are no longer sufficient. It’s best to use a long nonsensical mix of characters, numbers and symbols.

● Use a unique password for each of your accounts.

● Never share your passwords. Never write it down. Use a password manager such as LastPass or Dashlane.

● Never leave your device unattended for any length of time – computer, phone, or tablet. Lock it up so no one can use it while you are gone. This includes USB flash drives and external hard drives.

● Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in emails. If it looks suspicious, don’t click it. Double check any website links. Hackers use misspellings to direct you to phony websites. Try to spot a fake website with this Phishing Quiz.

● Sensitive browsing, such as banking and shopping should only be done on personal devices that belong to you and on a network you trust.

● Back up your data regularly and make sure your antivirus software is up to date.

● Be conscious what you plug into/or connect your computer to. Malware can be spread through infected flash drives, hard drives, networks and even smartphones.

● Smile, you’re on camera! Cover your device’s webcam when not in use. Hackers can access your camera to record sensitive information.

● Watch what you share on social media and routinely update your privacy settings. Criminals can track your location and use your personal information to steal your identity.

● Be wary of social engineering. If someone attempts to gain sensitive information through emailing or calling, just say “No.” Verify that whoever is making the request has the credentials to access sensitive information before giving it out.

At Cotton we value safety above all else, and want to protect you, your company and your privacy. We encourage you to take precautions to protect yourself and others from cyber dangers.